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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: We just found out there was a fire in the home we bought. It was not disclosed prior to buying. What's our options?

Prior to buying we checked records for crime and work permits and only found a few permits but nothing major for work completed. AFter moving in and by chance our gas line was being replaced by the city and the worker mentioned the fire. We asked the neighbor and it was confirmed and mentioned it... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 23, 2020

If there is a latent defect, you may have a cause of action, but it needs to be latent, and it needs to be a defect. If there was something wrong with a house, like a fire, and it was fixed, it's not a defect. If you could see it upon diligent inspection, it isn't latent. It sounds like you are... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Intellectual Property and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: my water bill is to high and no one lives on the property, water is shut at the meter

no one lives on my property and I have a bill for over 1000 dollars I have anothet property same city and also no one lives there and also to high, what I can do?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 23, 2020

A lawyer is unlikely to be useful for a $1,000 bill, because the benefit will not justify the cost. Try calling the water company. It sounds like a leak to me, and WSSC down here usually adjusts bills that accrued due to a leak. Don't ignore it. It will only get worse, and the water bill runs with... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My grandparents had a house built on a property pur hased by one of their 14 kids. That kid sole the property to the

Older kid and the gave the rest some money for it-the house. Grandma was still in the house and so was one of my aunts who helped Grandma. Grandma passed away in 1998 but the older sibling had an arrangement to let my aunt be in the house the rest of her life or till dhe decided to move. The older... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 18, 2020

This is the result when laypeople avoid lawyers by having ambiguous understandings that transcend generations. Without reviewing the title and all correspondence, whether signed and on paper or by email, text, checks exchanged, or otherwise, I don't know what rights your aunt may have. At very... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can a probate Judge change the deed of distribution. In other words can he change the distribution breakdown.

Change he/she change the percentage on three different properties so all three equal 100% for each person.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 16, 2020

The judge is bound to follow the law, and the law usually supports whatever the testator intended. There are exception, such as spousal share, but you should probably get a lawyer to review your situation if you can't explain the percentage changes.

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can real estate be sold in VA if the will has not gone through probate?

My grandfather passed away in late 2019. His will says that all belongings should be divided equally between the 4 children. My uncle is named executor but he has yet to file the will into the probate court. Can he try and sell my grandfather's home to a family member for half of fair market value... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 16, 2020

In Virginia, real estate passes outside of probate. If the unappointed executor is acting in derogation of the Will, and the Will has not been filed, you need to file the Will and move to appoint an Administrator cum testamento annexo (c.t.a.). This needs to happen now and it wouldn't be a bad idea... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: What Are The Difference Typed Of Disputes Regarding Quiet Title. Is Religion/Spirituality/Spiritual But Not Religion

And And Also Can That Work In Adverse /Adverse Possession Regarding The Statute Time And Element

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 15, 2020

I know of no relationship between religion or spirituality and either adverse possession or the concept of quieting title, though you might want to review a full set of actual facts past a lawyer in your jurisdiction. For example, if any churches still keep their doors unlocked at all hours for the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Is "joint tenants unto the survivor of them, their heirs and assigns" same as "joint tenancy with right of survivorship"
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 13, 2020

While I decline to render a formal opinion on a deed without reading it and seeing how it is recorded, it is the intent of the language and not specific magic language that creates a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (JTWROS). A grant that clearly says joint tenant and includes the word... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Sellers signed a AS-IS Md Sales Contract.Buyers said they would walk if Sellers did not pay and extra cash credit a clos

We signed a contract as AS-IS with Sellers right to walkaway subject to the home inspection. The Buyers agent provided us an email from the Buyer stating that following the home inspection they became aware of more potential issues. Through that correspondence they said if we did not provide a... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 12, 2020

Before you involve yourself in a significant litigation, the way you enforce your position is that you get a lawyer to review the exact words of each step of the transaction. If your recitation is grammatically accurate -- and there is no reason to believe it is -- I think you are still in the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Hi My grandfather owned a tract of land in NOLA and he passed away in 1988. I am searching to find ownership now

My mother gave me a letter from 1988 stating a lawyer would contact her from NOLA and that never happened. I have no idea what happened to the tract of land. DO we still have any rights to the land?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 11, 2020

It’s unlikely, but it’s possible. The answer is learned by ordering a title search, and that will cost money.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Quit title (Adverse Claims Statement) Can It Be As In Religion / Spiritual But Not religious / Spirituality

possession / Adverse possession And Or Not && The Statute Of Limitations Time Period Maryland 20 Years

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 10, 2020

Huh? I have no idea what you are asking, but the answer is “no.” Adverse possession is a legal concept that has no relationship to religion or spirituality.

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can I end my lease early due to harassment and threats from the property manager?

I have a two year lease and the property manager has taken a hostile manner to address issues. She has even threatened that if rules aren’t followed people can die and if I invite my boyfriend over she will call the cops and have him arrested for trespassing.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 10, 2020

The landlord is required to give you quiet enjoyment of your leasehold, but you are required to comply with the terms of your lease. It might be wise to coordinate your strategy and fact-documenting with a lawyer, because a judge is not going to believe that you are getting out of the lease for a... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If you buy a house and another house is hooked to the Septic without conditions can we disconnect from the other house
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 9, 2020

I'm assuming the septic pipes and tank are on your property. Obviously, you cannot trespass to disconnect another person's house from his own septic system. It would be a very good idea to start with a title search to look for easements to access the septic system on your property. For safety, I'd... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I own a condo and have given tenant verbal notice to vacate within 30 days and he refuses
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 9, 2020

You need a lawyer. While Virginia has self-help for some landlord-tenant issues, you are doing it wrong, and you are doing it wrong in the wrong county to do it wrong.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: halfway in our 12 month lease & paying on time. LL needs to kick us out in less than month no fault of our own.

I guess the LL has been using the address of her home for her kids school district. The school found out they are no longer living here and they must move back in or face the kids being kicked out of the school. LL said we need to be out by the end of the month.

What rights do we have in... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 6, 2020

Remember Nancy Reagan? Well, the DARE stuff was just nonsense, but the slogan is cool. Just say no.

Self-help in Maryland is illegal. It is the tort of Wrongful Eviction. In addition to any compensatory damages, a jury will decide how much the punitive damages will be. If your landlord...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Our landlord has overcharged us in rent by $82 a month for 11 months, against our lease agreement.

I am a resident in Richmond, VA that has been overcharged in rent by our apartment complex. According to our lease, we are to pay $1607 per month in rent. We have been paying $1689 in rent alone for 11 months. We’ve also been overcharged late fees and attorney fees based on the incorrect rent... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 5, 2020

Try contacting the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society -Richmond Branch.

101 West Broad Street, Suite 101 Richmond, VA 23220

804-648-1012

http://www.cvlas.org

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: Father's estate is being sued by surviving spouse after his passing - question is addressed in more info below - thanks!

Estate is being sued by surviving spouse for 1/3 of value of the family farm that was premarital asset (in fam for years). The property is owned f&c now but was used as collateral to purchase other assets/property that created financial gain/property & assets that the surviving spouse has already... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 3, 2020

There is no way to evaluate this competently from your incomplete description. You need an estate or probate lawyer in the state where your father resided at the time of his death. Spousal share cases are complex and often fact-dependent. In other words, the facts you described may or may not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: If the lease was never actually signed by me (tenant) or landlord, am I legally bound by anything?

I have been renting now for a year and a half on 12-month contracts. My landlord has fallen through or dragged his feet on numerous projects and am through dealing with a house that is physically falling down around me and my family. We are now going to buy a home but the lease of the rental... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 1, 2020

That depends on your state and the remainder of the facts. In some states, a writing with your signature on it, such as the rent check, accompanied by indicia of your assent, like living there, is enough to escape the Statute of Frauds. In others. unless your signature is on the lease, there is no... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I am trying to buy a house, do I need a mortgage in order to do it? I will be paying the down payment to the owner

The monthly rent will be paid to the owner as well. We are doing rent to own.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 1, 2020

Unless you have the cash to pay the seller the whole price, you are going to have to qualify for a mortgage loan somewhere. There are very very few mortgage notes that can be assumed by new buyers, and even then, you would be taking on a mortgage.

BTW, don't pay the downpayment to the...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate, Elder Law and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: Our mom passed a few months and I was shocked to learn that my older brother had been taking money from her account

And even her home equity line of credit. I was only made aware because I am the executor of her estate. And they hadn't had any payments. What can I do? All 3 son's was beneficiaries on her accounts.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 30, 2020

It is probably a good idea to review the facts with a lawyer. It might be that your brother had the right to do that, or he might have been abusing your mother by stealing her money and stealing from the estate. You may be able to collect it back from him or take it as a credit against his... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Heir Land was sold without family consent without real estate assessment and without right of way. Current owners are tr

Heir Land was sold without family consent without real estate assessment and without right of way. Current owners are trying to sell land but have not been successful. As a family will we need to go to County first to assess where land boundaries are before we present an offer

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 16, 2020

That isn’t a question, but I’ll give you an answer: You need a lawyer. Your short statement proves you do not understand what you need to do. For starters, there is no such thing as Heir Land. The problems get worse from there. Someone who thinks they own some interest in the land needs to... Read more »

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